Sunday, 27 March 2011

Malina's Dream by Angel Heart at The Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol

Being a Sunday, the journey to was effortless along the A370, so we arrived at The Tobacco Factory Theatre with an hour to spare, which was very lucky because a market of books, food, home-made craft wear and even bicycles was in full swing in their outside area. We sat in the courtyard amongst the lovely smells and hustle and bustle and ate a little of our mammoth sized picnic, enough, it turns out, to last the whole day.

Inside, after queueing with all the other excited families, we took our chosen seats at the very back of the theatre, with a great view: this theatre is small and well-planned enough to ensure that everyone can see the stage. My Girl worked out that there was an igloo on set plus a lake and possibilities of fishing. We guessed as to the animals that might live here: fish, seals, penguins, polar bears. Polar bears! Without realising (I think), she had opted to bring her Mummy Polar Bear, a bag that unzips to reveal Baby Polar Bear nestling inside, so they got to sit on our laps and watch the entire show about their "home."

Angel Heart Theatre presented Malina's Dream, the story of a little girl and her Grandpa and all the creatures Malina counts as her friends - Yes! Penguins, seals, a polar bear and a very smelly Walrus, who kept blowing off, to the delight of everyone in the arena. The two actors used the puppets with great skill and it was enlightening to see the expressions on their faces as they played their parts. I have never seen this done before and it really worked.

We were treated to some lovely pieces of live music, including the flute, the concertina and a sweet lullaby. The music punctuated the sometimes intense scenes and at one point we all got to clap along. The two scenes that could have proved a bit scary were well handled, though she did reach for my hand when Samuel, the yellow haired sailor man, went down with his ship, surrounded by Whales: "How did that get there?" she asked.

The yellow haired man, his spirit lost in the Land of Dreams, was saved by the metamorphosis of Grandpa into an eagle and went on to play a part in young Malina's life. "But where is the land of Dreams?" asked my spellbound companion. "Wherever you want it to be," my reply.

The show lasted for about an hour and, two minutes before it finished, she asked, "Has it finished yet?" I guess you could say then that it was the perfect length.

After the show, we were all invited by the actors to come and meet the puppets, so we took Mummy and Baby Polar Bear to meet the huge ice-bear, quite possibly, for us, the star of the show.

The Tobacco Factory Theatre is an excellent venue, with so much to look at in the building. And the tickets to Malina's Dream cost just £5 each. Once more, an absolute bargain.

We stayed for an ice-cream and a cup of tea and then headed up to Greville Smyth Park to burn off some energy on the very impressive play areas on offer here - an absolute must if you have the time!

A very successful and fun-packed day for both of us.

Weston-super-Dad, Nutty Noah, continues his "Magic, Music and Mayhem" tour at the Tobacco Factory Theatre on April 10th, 11am and 1pm, £5.

Review by Becky Condron


  1. I was there with my 3.5yr old and 4.5 yr old ..... they really enjoyed it! Good review Becky!

  2. Thanks Jane, it was a lovely afternoon x